Yet again you talk about war zones. The merchant navy doesn't do war zones. They deliver Ipads and cars and crude oil and whatever else people want to buy.
They are not the Grey Funnel line. They are not the Andrew. They don't do strategic. They don't belong to the nation. They aren't controlled by the government. They are private companies.
If you want the merch to be a strategic part of the country's assets then the government are going to have to stick their hands in our pockets and provide the cash to pay for it.
But what about the Gulf and other places they may be targeted? Surely many strategic industries are in private hands - all of them really including the defence industry and the energy and and telecommunications providers?